Three of four family members died, and the other was seriously injured, in a rollover accident this week. An elementary school student, her 42 year old mother, and her 76 year old grandfather were all killed, and her grandmother was critically hurt, when their SUV was involved in a crash on U.S. 62. If she survives, the heartache this unfortunate elderly woman will endure for the rest of her life is incalculable.
Early reports lack details, but it appears that the SUV, driven by fifth-grader’s mother, had gone into the center median, and then, when the mother over-corrected, the Chevrolet commenced a deadly roll.
This tragedy highlights at least two important points. First, and obviously, drivers must maintain constant vigilance when operating their vehicles. A pleasurable and even routine trip can turn in just a moment of inattention into a multiple fatality crash.
Secondly, and less obviously, automakers must design vehicles to protect passengers. Designers of vehicles know in advance that, unfortunately, mishaps will occur. They must take these into account when they create the vehicles that carry our families and loved ones. Yet, far too often, motorists have a false sense of safety because automakers have compromised safety for profits. They excuse their actions by pointing to federal regulations. But, lawyers who handle products liability cases know that regulation passed by the government, and the oversight of NHTSA in particular is woefully lacking. As a community and country, we must demand that those who regulate the auto industry stand up to the pressure manufacturers impose, and do the job entrusted to them: namely, protect all of us who travel in motor vehicles. In addition, we must hold the auto makers themselves responsible when irresponsible design choices contribute to highway deaths.